Editorial: Merged banks make community stronger

Thursday’s announcement of the merger of First Federal of Northern Michigan Bancorp. Inc. and Alpena Banking Corp. has to be seen as good news for the region.

Separately, each was strong and played an important role in community financing. Together, they bring a combined synergy that should be influential and substantial to local banking. By pooling their resources, they create a bank better suited to meet the needs of the community, yet still compete in a highly regulated environment. Consumers, as well as economic developers, should be the real winners with this merger.

Addressing First Federal of Northern Michigan employees Thursday, Michael Mahler, president and chief executive officer, said the merger would have a “positive impact” for everyone in the community.

“Both banks plan to come together forming a stronger bank than either bank could be on a stand alone basis. In this case the post merger bank that will be created will be greater than the sum of the parts.

“This announcement represents the culmination of a long and well thought out process for both banks and their respective boards of directors. Bank of Alpena and First Federal will fit very well together as we both have similar cultures, missions and complimentary products. We are both community banks committed to remaining independent and retaining local decision making to meet the needs of Alpena and Northeast Lower Michigan. Both boards were unanimous in their support for merging our banks together.”

Final approval for the merger is expected later this year.